Cooking Club- New Year, New Ingredient (Part 3). Farro and Kale Salad

Ready to start cooking club

Ready to start cooking club

At our first cooking club meeting of the year, we made two curry recipes to take home for our families’ dinners, but we decided to eat Sarah’s recipe right there. After all- we had earned a good lunch after our hike and all our cooking and cleaning. It was an excellent idea because, let me tell you, this salad is top of my new favourites list!

As we were all noshing away and raving about it, Sarah had the bright idea that it would also be delicious served in a pita with some tahini or perhaps a sunflower pate. Not only that, but she had tripled the recipe and we ended up with enough salad to take some home, too. My daughter took one look at it and said it was not for her, because she “hates” kale. The rule in our house has always been that you can refuse any food after you have tasted it, so she tried a forkful anyway. And suddenly she could not get enough. She wanted it in her lunch the next day and when I mentioned Sarah’s pita idea she was on it in a flash (and that, folks, is how Double-Duty Dinners are born!)

Sarah’s ingredient was farro, also known as Emmer wheat or wheat berries. Farro originally comes from Italy. It has a nice nutty and chewy texture that really added some body to the salad. To use it in this recipe, you need to pre-cook it by boiling it in salted water for 20-40 minutes. Farro is rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C and E. It is also easily digested and low in gluten, which makes it a good choice for those who are wheat-sensitive. In addition to minerals and vitamins, farro is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, lignans and betaine. Betaine, when combined with choline, has been shown to prevent or reduce stress-induced inflammation, which can be beneficial for individuals suffering from certain medical conditions.

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Sarah’s Farro and Kale Salad (Modified from 101 Cookbooks)

Ingredients:
Dressing:
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 green onions or scallions, rinsed and chopped (~1/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons ripe avocado
1 teaspoon sweetener (we used maple syrup- we’re Canucks, eh?), or to taste
fresh pepper to taste

Salad:
1/2 bunch kale, destemmed, torn into pieces
1 cup / 5.5 oz cooked farro or wheat berries (semi-pearled or whole)
4-5 carrots, very thinly sliced
1 small bulb of fennel, transparently sliced
1 avocado, cut into small cubes
a big handful of almond slices, toasted

Directions:
Make the dressing by pureeing the garlic, green onion, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, avocado, sweetener, and pepper until smooth. Taste, and adjust with more salt, sweetener, or lemon juice.

Before you’re ready to serve, combine the kale with about half of the dressing in a large bowl (this part is key, and it may be the reason my daughter now eats kale). Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale, softening up the kale a bit in the process. Add the farro, carrots, and fennel, more dressing, and a couple pinches of salt, and toss again. Taste, and add the last of the dressing if needed. Add the avocados and almonds and give one last gentle toss.

Serves 2-4.

Prep time: 10 min, plus the extra time to cook the farro.

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